Chicken/Paneer Pesto pizza(Whole wheat pizza dough)

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Pizza..and does anyone really care to make it at home?? Oh well, let me start explaining the reasons to make pizza at home. All the pizza base that we get in stores, in restaurants etc. are all made of all-purpose flour. Now if you don’t know already, all-purpose flour is not one of the healthiest options. So that’s the first and foremost reason to try this whole wheat flour pizza. Even if you find a recipe which claims to be whole wheat dough, its usually not 100% whole wheat pizza dough. I am sharing 100% whole wheat dough recipe ­čśŤ Then comes all the other reasons which are my main reasons not to buy pizza much. The pizza bases are usually too oily, it has too much cheese in it, the pizza sauce is not always the way I like it, so on and so forth.. ­čÖé

Having said that if you do not want the pain of making the pizza dough by yourself, you could just buy pizza dough from stores and make this yummy pesto chicken/paneer pizza. Pesto sauce works really well for pizzas. I have been a fan of pesto pizza from the day I first had this pizza @ work.

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INGREDIENTS:

For Whole Wheat Pizza Dough:

1. Wheat flour – 1.5 cups
2. Active dry yeast – 1.5 tsp
3. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
4. Sugar – 1/2 tsp
5. Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
6. Warm water – 3/4 cup

For Pesto Chicken(or Paneer) pizza topping:

1. Pesto Sauce – 1/3 cup
2. Baby Spinach leaves – 1 cup packed
3. Grilled chicken breast(cubed) – 3/4 cup
(or Paneer cubes)
4. Grated cheese – 1/4 cup
(I used Mozzarella cheese)

METHOD:
For the pizza dough:-

1. In warm water, add sugar and yeast. Close the lid and let stay for 15 mins until foamy.
2. In a stand mixer/food processor with dough blade, pulse the wheat flour, salt and olive oil well. To this add the foamy yeast mix and mix/blend well.
3. Add 2 tbsp water in case the dough is not binding well. Once done, knead by hand for 5 minutes.
4. You could skip Step 2 and 3 if you prefer to knead the dough using hands. Combine the flour mixture to form slightly firm dough(Similar to chappati dough).
5. Grease a bowl and cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise for 2-3 hours. After 2 hours, knead the dough for 5 mins again and let it rise for another hour.
6. Once the dough rises, knead the dough using hands for 2-3 mins.
7. Spread the dough by hand onto a baking sheet/tray greased with oil/cooking spray. Alternatively, you could use a rolling pin. When you spread the dough by hand, you could make it into any shape you want. I had made a square base.
Tip: Once you have rolled out the dough, using a fork, tap the dough here and there. This will prevent any bubbles being formed while baking the pizza.

For Pesto Chicken/Paneer pizza topping:-

Skip the steps to make the pizza dough(step 1-6) if you are using store bought pizza dough. Once you have spread the dough, its time for the toppings.

8. Spread pesto sauce on the base.
9. Evenly place the spinach leaves and put the chicken/paneer cubes on top.
10. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the pizza.
11. Preheat the over to 400 degree F and bake for about 15-20 mins or until the crust is golden brown.

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Pesto Sauce

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I was introduced to pesto flavor only few months back. The reason why it took me so long to try out pesto, is my aversion from anything ‘green’ alias ‘healthy’ ­čśÇ Though I had heard that pesto flavor is good and would be liked by any Desi, I had my own reservations because I know Palak Paneer is one of the favorites of most Desis. And I know how much I dislike Palak Paneer. But for one of our lunch meetings, I had no choice but to eat a Pesto Chicken Pizza and voila! I loved it ­čÖé Then I thought why not give it a try. And it turned out good. It goes really well with any sandwich or can replace your pizza sauce!

INGREDIENTS:

Fresh basil leaves – 2 cups
Pine nuts or Walnuts(chopped) – 1/4 cup
Garlic – 3 cloves
Parmesan cheese/Romano cheese(grated) – 1/4 cup
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Lime juice – 1 tsp(optional)
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. In a food processor, pulse together the basil, pine nuts/walnuts, garlic, lime juice, cheese and salt.
2. Slowly pour in the olive oil. Pulse a few more times.